I love the church, but I don’t like it.
Slightly off-topic from JUSTembrace living, but thoughts from the intern that have impacted my life in Uptown and my relationship with the church…
“I loved the Church for Christ made visible. Not for itself, because it was so often a scandal to me. Romana Guardini said the Church is the Cross on which Christ was crucified; one could not separate Christ from His Cross, and one must live in a state of permanent dissatisfaction with the Church.” – Dorothy Day
Thanks to my roommate, I’ve fallen in love with Dorothy Day. All I’ve read is half of her autobiography, but my heart resonates with her, her ideals, her desire for love and happiness, and her unhindered conviction of the insatiability of anything on this earth that equals God. She discovers through voluntary poverty, through radical protests and imprisonment, through living on the beaches enveloped by nature and its stark beauty, through loving a man and having a child, all of these joys, which are true and good, only drew her closer to God, and to His Church.
Even as I have committed myself, body and mind, to the ministry, to God, I have never been able to fully tie myself to the Church. As deeply as I know God and have faith in Him, I also know that I am part of a body that is holy, that is the Bride to the Bridegroom. Coming into this neighborhood I wanted to lose myself, and lose myself I have; in the poor, in living next to those society shuns. Often times, I become one with them, blending into the soup kitchen tables, the line, the huddle in the cold wind. There is but one thing I desire more, even than this honor, and that is to be one with the Church, huddled together, worshiping in reverence a God we know is true and seeks us.
In these huddles we don’t all agree, or like each other, or understand how or why God has fashioned us together — the point is — He has. To be frank, I dislike the Church very much, but that really doesn’t matter. As Day wrote, permanent dissatisfaction is assured, but that does not mean we cut ties, we separate ourselves from the body, indeed, we cannot. As we put off our own burdens and carry that of Christ, we also take up the burden the Church hands us. It is a great burden, of past pain and mistakes, of shame, of greed, of sin; I’ve concluded, that I am one among the number of the Church, I am an ear or a finger or a hip bone, I am not a complete bodily form alone.
Search – you will not find the perfect Church, then again, you will not find a perfect you. This year, I want each step that I take to lead me into a closer, and more binding relationship with the Church. To be sure, I am terrified of that desire, I grew up with a very noncommittal view towards any particular Church, which has both helped and hurt my view of the Church as a whole. What I know for sure is that I am not better than, less than, or separate from the rest of the Body; I am bound, married, and one with God’s Church.
Picture cred: Texan Artist Laurie Pace